This year Super Bowl LV commercials will be missing some key players: the Budweiser Clydesdale horses. Noted for returning to the big game and starring in classic Super Bowl ads, these horses won't be hitting the silver screen this year. In fact, Budweiser is skipping their ad this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and putting their $5.6 million dollars into helping Americans fight the coronavirus.
Vice President of Marketing Monica Rustgi told CNN Business that Budweiser had to rethink its marketing approach on commercials as the alcohol industry is still suffering from bar and restaurant shutdowns.
Paul Argenti, Dartmouth College professor of corporate communication, shares there is another reason for the ad pull during an interview with ABC News. "We have a pandemic that is casting a pall over just about everything," he shares, "It's hard to feel the exuberance and excitement people normally would."
Instead of airing a Budweiser commercial this year, Anheuser-Busch has given some of their ad-time to the Ad Council and Covid Collaborative's Vaccine Education Initiative to teach Americans about the awareness of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Other brands opting out of ad campaigns during airtime include Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and Avocados From Mexico. Pepsi is focusing on the halftime show and Coca-Cola and Avocados From Mexico have pulled from the CBS show. Anheuser-Busch's other brands, which include Bud Light and Michelob Ultra, will be shown.
For many, the price of an ad, which averages an estimated $5.5 million for 30 seconds, is too much of a gamble if it backfires. People aren't in the best mood to begin with, said Charles Taylor, marketing professor at Villanova University. " There's a risk associated with messages that are potentially too light. ... At the same time, there's risk associated with doing anything too somber."
Before the big NFL game, Budweiser is launching a new social media ad featuring Rashida Jones highlighting how resilient Americans have been in 2020. The ad ends with healthcare workers getting vaccinated.